Lockhart loves a twist. When I read her last book, We Were Liars (review linked above), it had a Sixth Sense-esque twist at the end, a Fight Club type turn of events that makes you feel surprised and insulted all at the same time. Another book that did this type of turn of events strategy was I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid (link), which produced a similar reaction in me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good twist, but a twist that relies on, say, it was a dream all along!!!! Kind of pisses me off. Seems lazy, or underestimating my intelligence. Either way, I decided to give Lockhart’s newest novel Genuine Fraud a go to see if things stayed consistent with her earlier work.
There is the main character Juliette Williams (Jule) who is with her best friend Imogen Sokoloff (Immie) traveling. Immie is the daughter of very rich parents, and has something like $8 million in a trust fund that she now has access to as an adult. The story is told in backwards motion, from Jule running away from police in Mexico, back to when she and Imogen first meet. The story reveals itself the further back we go, from Mexico to London to Martha’s Vineyard to Puerto Rico, we peel back the layers of this friendship to see what’s really happened to Imogen, who has disappeared at the start of the story.
This book had a lot of potential. Between the identity theft, the superhero undertones (see: Unbreakable or Kick Ass), and the psychological thriller aspect, this novel could have been 100 pages longer and swam into much deeper waters. As it is we get a compelling timeline that is obvious about what is happening (at least if, like me, you are on constant alert for fuckery in plotlines) and when you get to the end you’re like, “of course, what else would have happened?”
It’s a good book, and if you read it you will enjoy it, but it’s a book you probably don’t want to own. Borrow it from your local library, or buy it with the intent to regift, because once you’ve read it, it loses all the charm that other books might hold in the re-reading. Once you finish, all the magic is gone, and you’re left understanding the mystery. To be quite frank, the mystery becomes obvious about halfway through and you can predict what happens next, which is a step down from We Were Liars. Walk, don’t run, but definitely go enjoy the short romp that Lockhart provides in Genuine Fraud.